Tiger Leaping Gorge - 17th August 2008 @ 5:49 am «   »

Location: China, Yunnan Province : Tiger Leaping Gorge

Saturday morning we got off to a very early start as we had to catch the 08:00 bus to the town of Qiaotao – the start of the Tiger Leaping Gorge walking trail.

About 60 kilometers northwest of Lijiang Old Town lying between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain is the Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is believed to be the deepest gorge in the world and around 15 km in length. Legend says that in order to escape from a hunter, a tiger jumped across the river at the narrowest point (still 25 metres wide), hence the name.

After a few bus connections we started walking at about 10:45. It took about 1 hour to get from the drop-off point to the high path where we finally started the trek at the Tea Horse Guest House. The path goes through a fairly steep, rural mountainside area and there are only 3 or 4 guest houses along the way, most of which are locals offering modest accommodation. We were very glad that we took enough food and water, because it was only after about 3 hours walk that we found the first stall along the way.

Usually the trail is done over a 2 day period, which is what all the guest houses along the way are there for, but because we didn’t want to overnight we only did 3 quarters of the trail. We did the route in the opposite direction from the norm, which meant that for the first few hours we didn’t see any other hikers -we did pass many locals offering horse rides though.

With accurate weather information hard to come by, we had to guess which day would be best to go as the current season promises some rain at least once a day. In the end we were very lucky with no rain and even a bit of sunshine for an hour or two.

After some of the mountains we’ve climbed in China, the trail was relatively easy going with a few steep and very muddy sections and the views of the gorge were excellent. We finished the walk just before 17:00 and were glad to be able to get on a bus straight away back to Lijiang.

Back in the Old Town at 19:00 we had another lovely dinner at a Tibetan restaurant, one of many excellent restaurants around.

If you can’t see the slideshow above click here.

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